Sync Downloaded Books to iPad in Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks

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Apple surprisingly makes the Mac OS X Mavericks upgrade free to all the Mac users, which makes Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks the most "popular" version ever, for the activation speed is faster than any previous version.

The new Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks brings many exciting new features, of which the most attractive one to me is the independent iBooks application. With it we can finally read iBooks on Mac computers. But it is the iBooks application that makes many people want to downgrade to Mac OS X 10.8.5, saying the iBooks application is totally a mess.

iTunes can't sync/transfer local downloaded EPUB books to iPad under Mavericks

In the past we need to use iTunes to sync any kind of contents or apps to our iPad, iPhone or iPod. With Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks making iBooks an independent application, the "Books" is gone from iTunes library. When you open iTunes under the Mac 10.9 Mavericks and go to "Books", a notification tells you the "Books" have moved away.

iBooks have moved in mac os x 10.9 mavericks

And when you want to drag a downloaded local EPUB or PDF books into iTunes, it just bounces back and nothing changes. What's worse, you cannot find a sync button on the new iBooks for Mac application, either. In another word, we are unable to sync downloaded local EPUB and PDF books to our iPad, or other iOS devices.

iTunes says no, we make it yes

I am not saying cracking iTunes or iBooks for Mac. To transfer or sync downloaded local EPUB and PDF eBooks to iPad, we have many other choices, and here I will introduce the most capable and simplest way - Calibre Content Server.

To use this method for syncing local eBooks to iPad, we need to meet these requirements:

1. Calibre for Mac is installed;

2. iPad and Mac computer connected to the same local are network.

That's all. And below is the step-by-step guide.

1Install Calibre on your Mac

Calibre is totally free to download and use. Click the buttons below you can download the Mac version directly.

calibre for mac

2Load the books you want to sync into Calibre

By directly dragging eBook files into Calibre you can load them in.


3Enable Calibre Content Server feature

Look at the menu bar at the top, click "Connect/share --> Start Content Server". Then the three blue ball will turn to green, and there will display your IP address and port information, which will be necessary in the following steps.


4Visit Calibre Content Server on your iPad

Now take your iPad and open the web browser, input [your IP address:port] in the url address bar and visit it. For example, my IP address is and my port is 8080, then I should visit


5Sync/Transfer books to iPad under Mavericks

Click the "Get" button under book cover, then we will be navigated to a page which asks you how to open this file. "Open in 'iBooks'" is what we choose.


After pressing "Open in 'iBooks'", the iBooks for iPad app will pop out automatically, and you will be able to see this book displayed on the shelf.

Now this downloaded local book has already been synced to iPad, even we are using Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks.




joined Epubor since 2011, loves everything about eBooks and eReaders. He seeks the methods to read eBooks more freely and wants to share all he has got with you.

11/10/2013 09:54:43
Ooooooor you can just use dropbox and avoid needing any settings...
11/11/2013 01:23:34
Another truth is...Dropbox is not that popular in many non-US countries, and, you also need a dropbox app on iPad.
11/14/2013 21:27:11
Saved me from a fate of reading a PDF and not being able to highlight. This set of directions should go to all those complaining about iBooks in Mavericks at the Apple forums and other places. Many thanks Jonny
11/18/2013 01:20:34

I am so glad for being able to help you out, and thanks for all your kind words.

And I would appreciate if you can help me spread this article on your social networks. :)

11/17/2013 02:30:57
Oh wow! That was so easy and convenient  Thank you
11/18/2013 11:26:33
Dropbox would have been easy but it would not provide/allow(???) DRM removed ebooks for the iPad, and I tried several times. The beauty of Jonny's directions is they work with DRM removed books. Please note that the local librarian is OK with DRM removal since I can "return" the books as quickly as their system allows. She wishes the publishers would work with libraries better than they do.
11/30/2013 21:19:59
This works great, however, it does not sync your iPad books with the iBooks app on your Mac. This only doves half of the problem.
By the way, this technique is widely know and not a new idea. I've been doing this for several years already.
12/2/2013 19:32:06

Yes it's an old school trick, however, there are still many people don't know it, isn't it?

12/12/2013 19:41:30
Works like a charm...I always wondered what that content server was and how it worked.  Thank you for the detailed instructions.  Now that Apple as 'unhooked' iBooks from iTunes this is a great alternative as I like iBooks on iPad/iPhone.  
12/15/2013 21:25:49
i followed your instructions and everything worked as it should right up to the end. in step 5 when i pressed the "get" button i received a message "download failed safari cannot download this file." i am using calibre 1.15 and osx 10.9. help.
12/15/2013 21:30:52
i forgot to mention in my earlier post that i had converted the books to "epub"
12/24/2013 18:50:02
Can you open this book in Calibre?
12/26/2013 08:07:14
Perfect Job Jonny! You are the greatest!
01/7/2014 09:33:39
Thank you for this simple and elegant solution. I tried it on my iPhone and it synced with my iPad. As mentioned by others, Dropbox is another solution  but you have to consider having to transfer your books out of Calibre into Dropbox. I prefer to keep my Dropbox available for other uses.
02/12/2014 18:34:53
Thank you, this worked perfectly for me. I couldn't do it via iTunes.
03/2/2014 05:45:44

Jonny, this is all quite unnecessary... of course you can sync downloaded local (non-apple) books, you just drop them into iBooks on the Mac.

Then connect your iPad/iPhone to iTunes via USB or WiFi, select it, and look in the "Books" tab. There you will see all the books in your iBooks library, and you can check off "Sync books", and choose all books or only selected ones. Do a sync, and you're done!

If you have iCloud set up, it will even sync reading position, bookmarks, highlights, and notes, for your epubs, even non-apple ones, to your Mac. Try that with Kindle, Sony, or any other product... Apple is the only one who got it right!

03/3/2014 14:59:01

Thank you VERY MUCH Just what I was looking for

I found out that it only works in Safari but not in Chrome (well for me at least)

03/3/2014 15:58:04
Or just drag to iBooks.  This adds it to the iBooks library.  The next time your iPad/iPhone syncs with iTunes the recently added book gets synchronized.  No need for 3rd party apps.
05/31/2014 20:03:49
Thanks for the help! It worked!
10/20/2014 16:57:23
does not work. Ipad mentions "identity check required" and is asking for a username and password. Don't have any idea what this should be. Anyone?
11/17/2014 20:07:36
In which step it asks you for the information?
01/19/2015 21:02:34
This works a treat! I am SO, SO grateful. I thought I would have to give my iPad away and go back to a kindle or something. Thank you very much!!!
01/24/2015 06:07:05
how come this kind of thing happen in one of the world's renown product
03/23/2015 07:27:47



04/14/2015 09:43:39
Itunes still can sync ibooks app content to ipad. You don’t need anything else
01/28/2016 11:14:05
It doesn't see my iPad
Any solution ?
I'm under El Capitan 10.11.3
02/8/2016 05:18:22
perfetto! grazie mille!
10/25/2016 16:59:01
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